The Empire State Building Flash-A-Thon


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Have you ever looked up at the Empire state Building at night and seen random flashes going off around the top? Those flashes are the flashes of tourists, taking pictures of New York at night. Their flashes are lost on their pictures, of course, but they look pretty at night.

One night, back in November, while visiting the home of Dr. Brad Jones, who has a spectacular view of the midtown skyline, we watched these flashes, and thought it would be fun to gather a bunch of people and line the south face of the observation of the Empire State Building, and do "the wave" with flash cameras, to choreograph the flashes. On June 9, 1999, it finally came together.

In the final analysis, it was a qualified success. The flashes look a little random, but we all had a good time. We will do it again.

Following are a few hastily assembled images from the event, and a bigass quicktime movie of the flashes.

Joe Hobaica, coordinator, flash shepherd, and stage manager. Joe got tons of people involved, and kept them all in line on the observation deck


Max Whitney and Jamie Barnett. Max claims this is the stupidest thing she's ever been involved with. She lies.

Maura Johnston. Just arrived from a yoga class, and boy did she feel great. And doesn't her hair look cute?

Ellen and her cousin Christina. Christina came for the gum.

Rachel Fishman, who came mainly to reschedule her lunch date with Marianne Petit


Marianne Petit. She shot most of these pictures, and ran the documentary videotape.

Jack Taylor: "Is there a bar up here somewhere?"

Anne, Ellen's friend, who brought her very first camera!

Daniel, Ellen's brother, who does whatever his sister tells him

Camille and Sarah. Sarah demonstrates what we are there for.

Jack's friend Gillian. She'll know which flash is hers, or so she claims.

Matthew. He's higher than he's ever been in New York City since he was nine.

Sam, Greg, and Ted. They're here for the NEA grant.

Sarah, the crucial communications link.

What we were aiming at. We stopped using the phrase "aiming at", lest the guards think we were a crack sniper assassination team. We looked that tough and organized, it'd be a natural mistake.

Rachel and Joe demonstrate how to hold your camera high, so as to be easily identifiable as a flasher.

Many others are not pictured here, because we didn't have pictures of them.
The contribution of these usung heroes does not go unappreciated.

It's Quicktime 4 format only, (288KB) so if you haven't upgraded to quicktime 4, this would be a good time to do so.



A lot of people helped put this all together:

The plan was dreamed up by a number of people, including (but not limited to) Brad, Joe Hobaica, Jamie Barnett, Mark McClusky, Ellen McDermott, Maura Johnston, and me.

Brad, Joe, Ellen and I handled the email spamming to get everyone together.

Brad manned the video camera at home while we all frolicked on the Empire State Building, and graciously opened his home for the post-show viewing party.

Marianne Petit documented the goings-on at the Empire State

Gabrielle Lupe and the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU provided video cameras to tape the event

Jamie Barnett offered helpful suggestions and licked the camera a lot

Lots of people showed up with cameras and actually made it happen.

Much thanks to all for a good time!

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